Stephen Hawking has fairly specific computer requirements. He writes books, travels the world to speak, and spends a lot of his time on some seriously impressive science — but his illness prevents him from interacting with a computer in a normal way. Since 2001, he's worked with an Intel application engineer named Travis Bonfield to customize a computer that works for him, and Intel's Free Press interviewed Bonfield about Hawking's setup. The rig changes every three years: this time around, Hawking is using a Lenovo X220 tablet, custom-built with an Intel Core i7 processor and a webcam. There's also an IR sensor hanging on Hawking's glasses that reads the light coming off his cheek and translates it into speech, which comes out of an amplifier underneath his wheelchair. There's plenty more interesting technology involved in helping Hawking work and communicate, so hit the source below to check out the full interview.

Image credit: LWp Kommunikáció (Flickr)